Signs You’re Carrying Relationship Baggage And How To Fix It

August 20, 2013  |  
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All bad relationships tend to leave us with a bad taste in our mouths. There’s nothing worse than being cheated on, or getting hit with a blindsided breakup that seemed to come out of left field.

While you’ve probably heard the phrase “it’s not you, it’s me,” now is a good time to reflect on whether your emotional and relationship baggage is in fact weighing you down (and it is you, not the other person). Here are 7 signs that you have emotional relationship baggage, and 7 ways to get rid of it.

Signs you have relationship baggage…

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You still have trust issues

After being burned, you are bound to feel and experience some lingering effects. Maybe you aren’t as quick to jump into a relationship nowadays or maybe now it really takes a lot of effort and time before you really trust someone. In any case, trust issues should dissipate over time, especially if you are able to close to someone. If not, you’re more than likely still carrying around plenty of relationship baggage.


You compare now to then

This goes beyond a lack of trust and having doubts. When you start comparing your now lover to a past lover, there is definitely something wrong. Maybe your partner likes certain music or dresses a certain way, and these things automatically bring back bad memories and before you know it, you’re in a horrible mood that is tough to break. Don’t let unfortunate similarities break a possibly good relationship.


You’re paranoid

You don’t have to be crazy to be paranoid, and after a really bad relationship and/or break-up, it is plenty okay to be a bit suspicious about men. Being burned in the past will definitely cause you to become a much more cautious person when it comes to trusting and relationships overall. But paranoia can easily manifest into other things, such as neediness, clingyness, and the need to invade your partner’s privacy. Feeling paranoid makes your partner feel like he’s under 24-hour surveillance.


You’re afraid of commitment

Commitment isn’t for everyone, but if you’re a woman who wants commitment, in your mind at least, you clearly aren’t fearful of it. But, because of the past, you’re afraid of tying yourself down to one person, and you refuse to take that leap of faith, even if you’ve found a new guy who is great in all forms of the word. When you don’t want to be single but you’re afraid of commitment, it’s the relationship baggage holding you back.


You project it

Relationship baggage can cause all sorts of emotional and mental damage, including self-doubt. Since you’re already seeing the worst in yourself, you may also find that you’re seeing the worst in other people as well as in certain situations. For example, you may feel like a guy you’re talking to is judging you harshly because of the lack of confidence and self-esteem you have. This in turn makes you defensive and kind of ruins the relationship. Baggage and unfounded assumptions go hand-in-hand.

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You put up a lot of walls

As time goes on, walls can be brought down, but carrying a lot of relationship baggage makes these walls triple enforced. In order to be able to enjoy a healthy relationship, you’ll have to be willing to let these walls down. Keeping emotions and thoughts from your partner can quickly send a relationship into a downward spiral. Consider what you’ve been hiding from your partner, figure out why, and figure out a way to get it off your chest, once and for all.

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You have a bad attitude about it all

When it comes to dating and relationships, you really just hate thinking about all of it. You’re sick of getting into relationships only to let yourself get hurt. You’ve taken on the “hurt or get hurt” attitude and you’re not afraid to show it. Bitterness after a breakup is expected, but don’t let bitterness turn into relationship baggage that lessens your chances of finding a real man.

How to get rid of relationship baggage…


Learn to let it go

Before you can ever move on from the past and release the relationship baggage that you’re carrying, you’ll have to make the choice to let the whole thing go. Think about the lessons learned and apply them accordingly, but don’t let yourself dwell and brood over it. The relationship is gone, history, and there’s no real reason to let it destroy your opportunity of a healthy relationship in the future. Leave the pity party behind and move on!

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Realize the opportunities you have

There are plenty of fish in the sea and tons of animals in the zoo. Just because this relationship didn’t go as planned, and this man didn’t turn out to be what you thought he would, doesn’t mean that you won’t eventually be able to find a man who will treat you like a queen and enjoy a relationship that is fulfilling. You have all the opportunity in the world to find something twenty times better. Realize it.

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Know that he can no longer hurt you

The relationship is over, right? All cords have been cut and contact has ended. This means that your ex can no longer hurt you, at least not directly. The only way that he can hurt you is if you allow him to. By dwelling on the past and carrying this baggage, you’re indirectly allowing him to hurt you and causing yourself pain. Remember that he is out of your life, and take that to heart.

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Surround yourself with support

If you’re well aware of the baggage you are carrying, and you haven’t been able to shake it, now is a good time to surround yourself with supportive friends and family. These people can give you unbiased help, support, and advice, that will allow you to get over this hurdle. If talking to friends and family doesn’t seem to do the trick, really consider speaking to a professional.


Figure out your triggers

So this won’t be the easiest step, but in order for you to really get rid of this relationship baggage, you have to figure out what is triggering it. What puts you into these horrible moods? What makes your mind think about the past? Figure out what scenarios, feelings, or actions that sour your mood and thoughts. Once you know, find alternative means to express yourself.


Write a letter to your ex

This isn’t a letter that you’ll really send, but writing down your thoughts, as if you were addressing your ex, can help to alleviate some of the thoughts and emotions that you are feeling. Write him a letter and say everything you want to say, as well as everything you meant to say in the past. Be raw about it. Getting these thoughts of your mind and onto paper can be a huge stress relief.


Acknowledge these emotions

After all is said and done, it can be hard to admit and live up to what has happened. Instead of suppressing your feelings, wishing that you’d have never felt them, and hoping that they will go away in time, acknowledge them. Realize that you feel how you feel, understand why you do, and let yourself feel. If you’re angry and sad, that’s plenty okay. Allowing yourself to feel does a lot more good than suppressing things does.

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